In This Issue:
- New Things Going On With The Major
- Faculty Spotlight
- Alumni Spotlight
- Student Spotlight
- Club Updates and More
New Things Going on in the Major
It is our hope that you are staying healthy and your semester during this ever-changing time is going well. This year, the MIS program has had many exciting things happening. Just to summarize some:
- The activities of the MIS Club and our Executive in Residence program have been very rewarding for the students. Mr. Steve Bugajski, chief information officer of United States Steel (USS), has created numerous opportunities for our students to learn about the corporate environment and how USS is utilizing the technologies, tools, and foundations they are learning in their courses. USS employees have been on campus regularly offering programs like the Cybersecurity Escape Room. Five of the USS executives have graciously provided ongoing mentoring to students who applied and qualified, with each executive mentoring two to three students with both face-to-face and virtual meetings. We piloted an on-campus internship with USS, which was quite successful, allowing us to consider multiple on-campus internships for our students in the future. We have also planned events for the fall, including a trip to USS.
- Our MIS speaker series was informational and will continue next year. We will continue to invite IT professionals, many of whom are alumni, from numerous companies to provide us a valuable real-world perspective through their experience.
- We have been working on the development of new courses such as a second-level Python, Cybersecurity, and even courses toward a health information systems certificate. We will share more once they are approved. We will begin to offer MIS 250, Introduction to Problem Solving with Spreadsheet Analysis and Information Systems Management in the spring of next year.
Please read on to hear about all that is happening within our program. Stay safe and healthy!
Dr. Ashutosh Deshmukh, Program Chair of Accounting and MIS
Dr. Kathleen Noce, Disciplinary Lead in MIS
Dr. Babajide Osatuyi, Assistant Professor of MIS
If you could teach a course on any subject in any location in the world, what would you teach and where? Why?
Data/Business analytics at Behrend, for sure. I love to learn and teach different techniques for wrangling and analyzing data until it reveals insights that are often hidden in plain sight. The unique atmosphere here at Behrend is what I have always desired: to be in a place where one is able to connect with students on a personal level to ensure they learn what they need to thrive when they graduate.
What do you most want MIS students to know, do, and/or learn?
To be ready to continue to learn new skills as our field is constantly changing and students need to update their skills to remain competitive in the labor market.
What is an interesting research project you have worked on?
I conducted a study to examine addiction behaviors on social media platforms and found that nudging users about the amount of time spent on social media helps them realize how problematic the behavior is and that generally leads them to reduce their maladaptive use behaviors. Currently, I am working on understanding the motivations for sharing fake news on social media.
Jason Bartlett ’09
Jason is a senior software engineer at Erie Insurance.
What is your current position and where?
As a senior software engineer at Erie Insurance, I am a member of the Business Applications and Support Division under the Commercial Lines Technology Department. I am focused on applications that help grow and support commercial insurance. Currently, I am leading the implementation of the Workers Comp policy administration system. We are using a microservice design that involves many different applications and technologies to provide the end user a seamless user experience. Specifically, I work with Mendix, a low code rapid application development platform. This technology allows the engineering team to focus on business problems and solution at a rapid pace. I have been certified as a Mendix Trainer and as a Mendix Advanced Developer.
What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?
Adaptability. This is such a huge trait to have in a fast-paced world of IT. I first experienced this as an MIS student at Behrend. I was able to learn how to adapt to what was thrown my way. When you are able to successfully navigate a lecture, corporate finance, and then back to the lab, you are ready for the daily grind of a software engineer. Through my time at Behrend I also gained insights into both the business and IT worlds. Having the knowledge of how business works while being able to translate that into technology solutions is a huge asset in my daily tasks. I have been able to help drive solutions to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes because of my understanding of both business and IT.
Do you intend to pursue any further education or training?
Yes, I do. In the role that I am currently in, it is a must. Staying on top of new technologies and design patterns is essential to be able to come up with solutions to meet the business needs. Furthering my education allows me to stay sharp.
Christian Brooks ’20
Christian was in the Systems, Business, and Data Analyst Tracks, as well as MIS Club president from January 2018 to May 2020. He also completed an internship at Erie Insurance in summer 2019.
What was your biggest takeaway from your internship?
The biggest takeaway from my internship at Erie Insurance was how diverse my team was. Many of my team’s responses and actions were foreseeable. However, not everything was predictable. For example, many managers did not act like managers but like normal people instead.
Club Updates and More
Over the past year, the MIS Club hosted or co-hosted several events. First, the club hosted three alumni from HM Health Solutions, Highmark’s IT organization, in September to discuss various upcoming internships and jobs, including their Emerging Leaders Program. The main speaker was Tom Sieg, vice president for Delivery Services & Implementation, who discussed his college experience and winding career path. Accompanying him were Charissa Ford, associate business systems analyst, and Parker Faix, emerging leaders program associate.
The next three events were part of the ongoing Black School of Business Executive in Residence Program. The MIS Club and Black School of Business co-hosted Steven D. Bugajski, CIO of United States Steel; and Steve R. Martin, op-xx consultant of US Steel, as well as several US Steel IT employees. As part of the Executive in Residence Program, they make regular, periodic trips to Behrend to discuss various aspects of US Steel’s IT division. The executives are also part of an ongoing mentorship program where students get to have several one-on-one discussions with their mentors about career goals, skills development, and life in a corporate work environment. US Steel’s most recent event involved escape rooms, where participants learned good IT security practices by gathering the clues needed to solve the puzzle and “escape the room.”
Due to the campus closure over COVID-19, the MIS Club postponed its planned trip to US Steel in Pittsburgh. Also, the club will hold an election online to replace the outgoing Executive Board Members: Christian Brooks ’20, president; and Evan Tatara ’20, secretary. All positions are up for election.
From left: John Peterson ’21, Desmond Hamilton ’21, Vishal Shaw ’21, Trevor Schlater ’21, Christian Brooks ’20, Angel Price ’21, Shreddhaa Vallabh ’20, Zachary Lowery ’20